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  • Dulani Stephens

What it Means to be Dauntless | The Indigo Issue

'I started doing yoga so much that it became redundant. So I started creating my own, and I was like, you know what, my boys could benefit from this, like my athletes can benefit from this."

An interview of Dulani Stephens by Christina Mills.

Christina Mills: How are you doing?

Dulani Stephens: I'm grateful and blessed to be here. I'm just happy to see another promised day. How about yourself?

That's awesome. Just happy to be here. Okay, so you participated in and won our November yoga challenge? How did you find out about it?

I found about it from a another yogi, I follow JoJo @ preppylocs {who was a challenge host}. And I like, respect her and appreciate her and what she's doing and how authentic she is about her practice off. Like, if she's doing it, I probably should be involved in it. And I seen it was a all black kind of challenge hosted by black. A black yoga sounds like okay, this seems real cool. I've been looking for a community like this. So I'm like, why not? What's the worst that can happen?

It was cool when I first saw your page. Because I was like, Oh, this guy like, does yoga. Like you have shirts that say I do yoga? Like, I love it. So. So you've done yoga challenges before?

No lie. That was my first one.

Even better. So, how did you get into yoga?

So funny story. The first time I ever did yoga was in college. And I was a track athlete, very tight hips, no flexibility in my hips. And my coach said, hey, you need to do yoga is gonna make you more explosive. It's gonna make you better. And I was like, Sure I'll try anything. I literally was so like, sore. I was hurting and muscles I didn't know existed. After that, I kind of dabbled in it from time to time. But overall, I'm actually a runner. So I'm athlete. I like to do Spartan Races or obstacle course races. And I run half marathons. And I was like, I need to create a routine where I can stretch and stay limber, throughout my races or in between long runs, short runs. Nike had a promotion that they were doing yoga for free for Premium members, so I started doing it that way. And I started doing it so much that it became redundant. So I started kind of creating my own, and I was like, you know what, my boys could benefit from this, like my athletes can benefit from this. And I just kind of started doing research and looking into it. And I found a program. That was for teachers by teachers.

I'm a football coach by trade, so I coached football and track so it was gonna be beneficial to me to add to my resume. But once I got into the training, I started to peel layers back on myself that I didn't know were there. And I just became more vulnerable and started to see my flaws and where I was at and, you know, talking about the eight limbs and the disciplines and all of that kind of made me realize like, I have to be this to get to where I want to go. So it kind of helped me work in towards becoming my best version, in a sense.

I started in January, and got my 200 hour certification in September. And it was one of those deals where the more I talked, the more comfortable I became. And the more comfortable I became, the more fluid I became with my students. I have a group of kids who show up on Sunday nights that are varsity wrestlers. And they come to yoga because they feel better after they leave. So right now my goal is to create an experience to where it's somewhere,they don't have to be, but they want to be there. So it's like a choice for them to come. But they're reaping the benefits also of being mindful, relaxing their emotions, controlling their outcome, controlling their thoughts. So I'm teaching them not just the poses, but the mindset that goes with it. And it's gonna carry over into many parts of their life.

So right now, for me, it's really about breaking the stigma of what yoga has been taught to society, and letting it be known that it's not one way to do it. There's many different variations and ways to do it. But it depends on who's teaching it and how they're transcribing it to you. You know, so many people try to make it more difficult than it is. And sometimes you got to put it in layman's terms to people. So they're more comfortable coming, and that feeling intimidated to come to a class?

I get you. So okay, so at what point did you like create the swag? You have stocks, you got shorts, all of that.

So as I went through, I've always been entrepreneur. So me being a jock. You know, you get represented by your brand, or you get represented by what you wear. So really the brand is a fundraiser for a bigger goal that I want to achieve. So I want to have my own nonprofit to where I'm giving kids or helping kids get a sports equipment, cleats, giving scholarships to kids that are in college, to help them eat or help them, you know, buy books and certain things. So I said, most fundraisers you use, you donate money, and you get a thank you. I want to make to where when you get a donation, you get a shirt, a pair of socks or a whole kit. So my my theory was, if you know you're going to get a gift, you're more likely to donate more. And if you donate more, you're going to wear the gift. So, I like wearing unique things and unique pieces. And I always get compliments on the stuff that I wear. And I said, I wonder if I can make that into something of my own. And make it to where, you know, it's a word that identifies with people.

So I bought a course about creating your own brand, went through the school went trial and error, put it together. So right now I'm still working on it every day, but it's blown into something bigger than I thought it was just like the yoga has. My favorite rappers like Master P Jay Z, they all have a way to make income outside of just music. They always say you got to have some product. When you have a brand, it identifies who you are. I want to do it the right way and also set myself up for future endeavors. So it's gonna evolve as time goes.

Yeah, that's cool. So why the word Dauntless

First my name is Dulani Stephens. And the source is just my initials. I have a tattoo with the D S on it. But me, my dad, both my brothers, and three of my nephews all have the same initials. And I have an 11-year-old and a 12 bout to be 13 year-old and a eight-year-old nephew. And I said, "How cool would it be that my family and future children to be able to have something that they can identify with and wear, but represents something bigger than any other brand that they'll ever put on? So I kind of made it and wanted to make it a family business, but also incorporate my dad, my brother, and my niece, my nephews. Just had to say, this is this is ours. This is ours.

Dauntless means fearless. You know, not not not going away. Not you know, faltering when things get tough. So in my life, I've been arrested. I've been to jail, I've been homeless. I've had to scrape from the bottom, I've had to work my way up. Everything I've had to earn, I've had to basically go get, as they say, get out the mud. I've had to earn. I've had to work. No, I didn't get handouts. I walked on to play college football, my second time around, I had to stay extra years to get my degree. I had to work to get my teacher certification to be legal to teach in the state of Texas. So it was like so many different things, kind of make you who you are. And dauntless was just kind of that word that I could identify with that matched my personality. But also, that's what I want to do. Be a part of, you know, when you hear it you like, Oh, I wonder what that is. It kind of sparks your interest.

So I'm 6'1". I've been, you know, the same size for a while. And people underestimate my flexibility. So my alter ego, of my mentors gave me was Yogi duBerra. So when we would do work, I would stretch. And you know, people would be like how are you doing it? And I was like, "I do yoga. " And I was just like, a never ending joke. So now I put it on the shirt. And people ask like, "Oh, do you do yoga today?" "Yeah, actually, I do." Oh, and they kind of is a great conversation starter. But then they ask why and then you got somebody that wants to be involved just because of that shirt. And it's universal across any language.

So that's something I kinda wanted to put out there for the world.

Is there anything else you have to say to the world?

I'm gonna say I'm gonna say to the world," Be dope or die trying." You only get one life to do this. So don't waste it on trying to be somebody you're not


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Peace & Pineapples!


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